A small squirrel with a fluffy tail.
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Can Squirrel Poop Make You Sick?

Squirrels are prevalent in many areas of the country, including urban and suburban neighborhoods. They like scurrying up trees, gathering acorns, and scavenging for food. While they may appear harmless, squirrels can be carriers of diseases that can make humans ill if they come in contact with their feces.

Squirrel poop can pose a severe health risk to humans if they come into contact with it. Part of the rodent family, squirrels can carry parasites and bacteria that can cause severe infections and illnesses.

Some of these pathogens can be transmitted to humans through direct skin contact with the squirrel’s feces and even cause serious health problems if left untreated.

We will discuss the potential health risks associated with contact with squirrel feces, how to prevent it, and what to do if you come into contact with it.

Key Pest Points:

• Exposure to squirrel droppings can lead to serious long-term health effects, such as respiratory illnesses and malnourishment.

• It is vital to take all necessary precautions when dealing with the droppings, such as wearing gloves and a face mask.

• Prevention is the best way to avoid any potential health risks, and if someone is exposed, they should seek medical attention immediately if any signs of infection develop.

How Can You Come Into Contact With Squirrel Poop?

Squirrels are most active during the day since they are not nocturnal, so exposure to their feces can happen while walking on a sidewalk or in a park. Feces may also be discovered around bird feeders, decks, and porches if there is a squirrel.

Coming into contact with squirrel droppings can occur without an individual’s knowledge. Here are some common ways to come into contact with squirrel droppings:

Contaminated Food

The most common way to become sick from squirrel feces is to consume contaminated food. If a person eats any food that has come into contact with squirrel feces, they can become infected by the bacteria or parasites in the poop.

Infections can lead to various unpleasant and potentially dangerous illnesses, such as salmonella, E. coli, and giardia. Squirrels can also carry parasites such as mites, fleas, and ticks, which could be transmitted to humans through contact with their droppings.

Farmer hands planting to soil seedling in the vegetable garden. In the background is a watering can for irrigation.

Home and Garden

Squirrels can invade your home, leaving poop in attics, crawlspaces, and dangerous particles in the air. Inhaling these particles can also lead to respiratory illnesses, while coming into contact with the poop on your skin can lead to rashes and other skin infections. It is a good idea to inspect your home regularly for signs of squirrels and keep it clean.

Yard work is another of the most common ways to come into contact with squirrel feces. If you are doing yard work like clearing leaves or gardening, be sure to wear protective clothing and gloves to avoid contact with any droppings.

Preventing squirrels from invading your garden is also essential, as they can spread disease to your plants and vegetables. One of the most effective ways to stop them from entering your property is through scent repellent or by covering your plants with thick netting.

Other Ways You Can Become Exposed

Other common ways to become exposed to squirrel droppings include walking through wooded areas or parks, camping, and even playing in the backyard. In areas populated with squirrels, it is crucial to be aware of their potential risks.

These activities can increase the risk of coming into contact with their droppings. Additionally, if you have pets that come into contact with squirrels or their feces, they could become ill and pass the illness on to humans.

What Does Squirrel Poop Look Like?

Squirrel droppings look different from other animal feces. They are barrel-shaped and roughly 3/8″ long and 1/8 wide. They are usually dark brown or black, although they may become lighter as they age and dry out.

Droppings of Siberian flying squirrel under an old aspen tree. Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Squirrel droppings are often confused with rat droppings because of their size and shape. The main difference is that rat poop is long and tapered, while squirrel droppings are barrel-shaped. It is crucial to identify squirrel feces so you can take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family.

Do Squirrels Carry Diseases?

Squirrel poop contains a variety of harmful organisms that can cause serious health complications. These include salmonella and leptospirosis.

  • Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause food poisoning, with symptoms including fever, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. Long-term effects can include reactive arthritis, digestion disorders, or even death.
  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by contact with urine or water contaminated with bacteria. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches.

In addition to these diseases, squirrels can also carry parasites such as mites, fleas, and ticks which can be transmitted to humans through contact with their droppings. This can cause itching, rashes, and other skin infections.

It is essential to be aware of the risks associated with coming into contact with squirrel feces and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family.

If you spot squirrel droppings, it is best to stay away from them and ensure they do not come into contact with food or surfaces in your home. Additionally, it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms of these illnesses and seek medical attention if exposed to squirrel feces.

American Red Squirrel on a tree stump.

What Should You Do If You Come Into Contact With Squirrel Poop?

If you come into contact with squirrel poop, it is essential to understand the potential health risks and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.

Washing hands thoroughly. Make sure to rinse your hands with soapy warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after coming into contact with the droppings. This will help to remove any bacteria or parasites on the droppings and prevent them from spreading.

Cleaning any surfaces that may have come into contact with squirrel feces. Use an antibacterial cleaner and a paper towel to wipe down any exposed surfaces, such as countertops, tables, or door handles. Dispose of paper towels in an outdoor garbage can to prevent additional contamination.

Wear protective gloves and a mask when removing or disposing of the droppings. Make sure to wash your hands properly after discarding them, even if you are wearing gloves.

Disposing of gloves used when cleaning up droppings. Put the gloves in a plastic bag and throw them away in an outdoor garbage can. Do not reuse the gloves for other purposes or discard them inside your home.

Seeking medical attention. If exposed to any harmful organisms found in squirrel droppings, seek medical attention immediately. It is essential to understand the signs and symptoms of these diseases to take the necessary steps for proper treatment.

Taking the necessary precautions when coming into contact with squirrel poop can help protect yourself and your family from illnesses caused by parasites and bacteria found in their droppings. It is essential to practice good hygiene habits and seek medical attention if you suspect any symptoms associated with these diseases.

By being aware of the risks and taking preventive measures, you can significantly reduce your chances of contracting an illness from coming into contact with squirrel droppings.

FAQs

Can squirrels make humans sick?

Yes, squirrels can make humans sick. Squirrel droppings contain bacteria and parasites that can cause serious illnesses if they enter the body. Wearing gloves, using a face mask, and properly disposing of the droppings can minimize exposure to these bacteria and parasites. If exposed to squirrel droppings, they should seek medical attention immediately if any signs of infection develop.

What can you catch from squirrel poop?

Squirrel droppings can contain a variety of parasites, bacteria, and viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal issues, and other serious health effects. Leptospirosis is of particular concern, as it can cause severe organ damage and even death.

What are the symptoms of leptospirosis in humans?

Symptoms of leptospirosis vary depending on the strain and severity of the infection. Still, they can include fever, muscle pain, rash, headache, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, the infection can cause kidney damage and organ failure. Treatment requires antibiotics and medical supervision.

How do you clean up squirrel droppings?

The best way to clean up squirrel droppings is to wear gloves and a mask, pick up all the large pieces, vacuum any remaining particles, and then use a bleach and water mix to disinfect the area. You must dispose of any waste material in sealed bags.


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